On September 9, 2011, CAC filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court in support of the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in Harrison v. Gillespie. This case raises important questions about whether the Double Jeopardy Clause entitles a defendant to ascertain whether a jury has acquitted him of a more serious sentence when the jury indicates that it is deadlocked among lesser sentences.
CAC’s brief asked the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in this case. CAC argued that the text and history of the Double Jeopardy Clause supports allowing Harrison to poll the jury on the capital sentence given that it indicated it was no longer considering the death penalty and was only deadlocked as to the lesser sentences. The rulings to the contrary below frustrate Harrison’s right under the Double Jeopardy Clause to have his trial completed by the jury that heard the case, giving the State a constitutionally unjustified second chance to make its capital case.